March 28, 2014

Beacons Bats Help Softball Salvage Doubleheader Split With Bridgewater State

BOSTON, Mass.—Behind a season-high 13 hits and 10 runs, UMass Boston (3-6) salvaged a doubleheader split Friday afternoon against Bridgewater State University (7-7) in the Beacons home opener at the UMB Softball Field.

After the Bears took home game one 6-0 behind a dominant pitching performance from reigning MASCAC Pitcher of the Year Amber White, the Beacons pounded out six extra-base hits to earn a 10-8 win over Bridgewater State in Game Two.          

Senior Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) led the Beacons on the day with a team-high four hits and added two runs and an RBI in game two.  Freshman first baseman Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) had a huge day of her own, recording the first three hits of her collegiate career, alongside her team-high five RBI.

Game One: Bridgewater State 6, UMass Boston 0

Bridgewater State scored three runs in the fourth and three more in the seventh and White shut down the Beacons in the circle to help Bridgewater State earn a 6-0 Game One victory.

White struck out nine batters and allowed just three hits and three walks to move to 6-1 on the year. At the plate, Kelly McCarthy and Jennifer Galavotti each recorded two-run base hits to help the Bears snap a two-game losing streak.

Vecchiet recorded two of the Beacons' three hits in the contest, while Mitsiaris added the third hit, a double to right field for her first collegiate hit.

UMass Boston had their best chance to score in the bottom of the first inning, when the Beacons put runners on first and second with one out. Vecchiet followed with an infield single off of White's glove, but Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) was thrown out trying to score all the way from second on the play.  

Bridgewater State broke through for three runs in the fourth inning when they registered three hits and a walk off of UMass Boston starter Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.). After Gray got the leadoff hitter, Jessica Laudati doubled and came into score on a Tara McCann single. Three batters later with runners on second and third, Galavotti knocked in both runners with a single to make it 3-0 Bridgewater State.

Gray allowed 13 hits and six runs, five earned, over seven innings, while striking out a season-high four batters.

The Beacons couldn't get anything going over the next three innings, as White retired 11 in a row at one point and allowed one runner or fewer to reach base in every inning but the first.

McCarthy put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh inning, as she roped a double into the left-field corner that scored two Bears to push the lead to 5-0. Laudati followed with a double of her own to make it 6-0 in favor of the road team.

Game Two: UMass Boston 10, Bridgewater State 8

After building leads of 5-0 and 10-4, the Beacons barely held off a late rally from Bridgewater State to earn a 10-8 victory in Game Two. 

The contest was a break-out party for the Beacons' bats as they not only recorded season-highs in hits, extra-base hits and runs, but two players registered their first hits of the season and five total players picked up multiple hits.

Mitsiaris finished the contest 2-for-3 with five RBI, while Toni Scola (Worcester, Mass.), Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.), Vecchiet and Morse all joined her with two hits apiece.

Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) picked up the victory for the Beacons by allowing five hits and one earned run over four innings.

After Zullo kept the Bears off the board in the first, UMass Boston took their first lead north of the Mason-Dixon Line this season when Vecchiet struck for the first of four Beacons doubles in the contest. With Morse on second after an infield single and a sacrifice bunt, Vecchiet drilled a line drive just over the third baseman's glove and into left field, to give UMass Boston a 1-0 lead.

UMass Boston exploded for four more runs in the third inning behind five hits and one Bears error.

Morse led off the inning with a triple to right-center field and came into score when the Bears' second baseman couldn't handle a Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) pop-up. Vecchiet followed with a single to put runners on first and third, before Hemstock picked up her first hit of the season with an RBI single through the left-side to make it 3-0 Beacons. With two outs and both runners in scoring position, Mitsiaris dumped a single down the right-field line to easily score both runners to make it 5-0Beacons after three innings of play.

Bridgewater State responded back with one run in the fourth off Zullo and three more off of Jillian Shepherd (Norwood, Mass.) in the fifth. The freshman reliever allowed an RBI single to Laudati, before Galavotti tattooed a home run over the left-center field fence to cut the Beacons' lead to 5-4. 

UMass Boston's bats pushed the lead back to four in the bottom of the inning, as Rackowski and Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) each recorded RBI doubles and Mitsiaris added a sacrifice fly to make it 8-4 after five.

The Beacons added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when Vecchiet and Hemstock both came in to score on a Mitsiaris single down the right-field line. 

UMass Boston's two runs came in handy, as the Bears sent nine runners to the plate in the top of the seventh and left the tying run on second base after scoring four runs. After a Sydney Bettencourt RBI single and a Beacons' error scored two runs and put runners on second and third with two outs, Karissa Pagan lined out to Shepherd in the circle to help the Beacons survive the Bears big rally.

UMass Boston will kick off Little East Conference play Saturday at 11:30 a.m. when they travel to Rhode Island College.